North Lane, West Hoathly, West Sussex
The Practical Things
The Practical Things
For information please contact:-
The Venerable Lionel Whatley
The Vicarage, North Lane, West Hoathly, RH19 4QF
Tel:- 01342 810757
Carole Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel:- 01342 810075
The Parish area The Parish of West Hoathly lies to the south of East Grinstead, to the east of Crawley, to the north of Haywards Heath and to the west of the Ashdown Forest in an area of countryside still referred to as 'The Weald.' The boundaries of the (church or ecclesiastical) parish - which are not the same as the civil parish, see Parish Council for more details - cover the communities of West Hoathly and Sharpthorne and surrounding farmland.
The Benefice The ancient church of the parish is dedicated to Saint Margaret of Antioch, virgin and martyr - see St. Margaret of Antioch for more about the legend of her life. The parish is twinned with a neighbouring parish centred on the parish church of All Saints in the community of Highbrook, 2 miles away towards Ardingly and Haywards Heath. Together the two parishes form what is called a Benefice, which means that the ministry of both parishes is united in one vicar or incumbent. Formally the parishes have the title of 'The Benefice of Highbrook and West Hoathly.'
The Parish within the Church of England The benefice of two separate parishes is part of the parish network of The Church of England - see
The Benefice is grouped with neighbouring Church of England parishes in what is called a 'Deanery,' which, in our case is centred on Cuckfield. The Deanery, in turn, falls within the wider ministry of the church within the Diocese of Chichester - see Chichester Diocese where you can find details of all contacts. The Bishop of Chichester has overall responsibility for church life within the whole diocese but in view of the size of the diocese, covering both East and West Sussex, part of this leadership is devolved to Assistant Bishops. For practical purposes our local Bishop is the Bishop of Horsham, based in the town of Horsham itself. Also involved in the wider care and governance of the church is the Archdeacon of Horsham who has special responsibility regarding the care of the fabric of the church. The administration of the Diocese is centred on the Diocesan Secretary and his/her staff at Church House, Hove.
The governance of the Parish Being a separate parish means that St. Margaret's has its own Church Council (called a 'Parochial Church Council' or PCC, not to be confused with the civil Parish Council). The PCC operates within the jurisdiction of the Church of England and has charitable status. Together with the vicar, the PCC is charged to care for the finances and fabric of the church and churchyard in such a way that the Christian faith is promoted within the parish. Each year at its Annual Meeting (the 'Annual Parochial Church Meeting') the Church accounts for the preceding year are published and a report given of the life of the church. The PCC is drawn from the membership of the Church which is held in an Electoral Roll (again, not to be confused with a civil list of electors). The PCC is composed of 18 people.
The religious life of the Parish The worship and missionary life of the parish and its church is promoted in a great variety of ways through the year and seeks to reach out to, and include, as wide a cross-section of the community as possible. Within this work, the pastoral offices of the church - baptism, marriage, the visiting of the sick, counsel, care for the dying and bereaved - are open to all the people of this parish by virtue of their residence and to any others who seek and make enquiry. In all cases please contact the vicar or the churchwardens. Applications for weddings at St. Margaret's can be received from those who are not resident, though it is generally more involved and takes a little longer to arrange. Requests for burial space in the churchyard can also be received and occasionally grave-spaces are legally reserved, but this is a complex process and does require a long-standing connection with the parish and church.
Other Christian traditions Two other Christian traditions are represented in the parish - the Catholic tradition, which meets at St. Dunstan's in North Lane and is led by a monk/priest from Worth Abbey - see Worth Abbey and the Free Church and Evangelical tradition, which meets at the New Connexions Church in Station Road, Sharpthorne, and has strong links with The Countess of Huntingdon Connexion Church in Turners Hill.
The Village School There is a Church of England Voluntary Controlled School in the Parish. The PCC nominates three people to serve on the governing body as 'Foundation Governors' and the Church seeks to play an active role in the life of the school.